04 Jun Thermochemistry

The study of heat released or absorbed as a result of chemical reactions is termed as thermochemistry. Used by a range of scientists and engineers, thermochemistry is a branch of thermodynamics. The term thermodynamics is derived from Greek words described as “heat” and “power”. The first law of thermodynamics states that the energy of the universe is constant. Changes in the internal energy are the sum of heat transferred and the work is done. Thermochemistry is a very important field of study as it understands the relationships between heat and chemical reactions. Biochemists use thermochemistry to analyze bioenergetics and chemical engineers use thermochemistry to design manufacturing plants. Chemistry tuition for this field of study is given by education professionals who have excelled in this area of research. Being considered as a very important ground for study, it helps to analyze if a reaction would take place and if it will release or absorb energy as it occurs. In addition, it determines if a certain chemical process is economically viable. However, thermochemistry cannot predict how fast a chemical reaction would take place. Chemical reactions include the transfusion of a set of substances referred to as “reactants” into a set of substances known as as “products”. Apart from reactants and products, terms such as an endothermic reaction and exothermic reactions are also included. Endothermic reaction inhibits (absorb) heat whereas exothermic reactions liberate heat. Thermochemical processing is the use of heat to induce chemical transformations of biomass into energy and chemical products. Combustion, slow pyrolysis, fast pyrolysis, torrefaction, flash pyrolysis, and gasification are the six processes of thermochemical processing. All these processes use different amounts of solid, liquid and gas. Each process utilizes different reactions like temperature, pressure, heating rate, reactive or inert atmosphere for the manufacturing of one or more specific products.

Thermochemistry started with two ideas:

  1. Lavoisier and Laplace Law (1780) – The energy change for any transformation is equal and opposite to energy change for the reverse process.
  2. Hess’s Law (1840) – The energy change for any transformation is the same whether it goes in one step or many.

These discoveries came before the first law of thermodynamics and it helped scientists to understand this law.

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